A/N: Full title = THE QUEST FOR EDWARD'S MAGICAL CURE-ALL HAIR CONDITIONER.

Written for a friend during a gift exchange. Loser!Roy is simply too much fun to write. Don't take it seriously, because I never do.


Roy was emo. While this was not an uncommon occurrence, he was feeling worse off than usual.

The date had been going just swell. Liddy giggled at all the right jokes, gasped at all the right gossip, and was this close to surrendering to Roy's incredible good looks and charm and allowing him access to the files she was in charge of, when Roy removed his rather fetching black hat and she suddenly went into acute respiratory failure and had to rush off to the ladies room.

She never came back.

Yes, Roy had plenty of reason to mope about this. Hours later, after hours spent waiting in vain, he called her up and asked, with his best kicked puppy voice, what he had done wrong.

She sighed. "I'm sorry, Ro – Colonel Mustang. You're very sweet, but it just couldn't work out."

"Was it something I said?" he asked, on the verge of desperation. Roy Mustang was not stood up on a date. That sort of thing did not happen in his world; he wasn't Havoc. This was more than just a great blow to his pride - this could destroy his entire world view!

"No, you were – you were very sweet." Her voice wavered nervously. She was probably twirling the phone cord around her finger, or fiddling with a lock of her hair. "It wasn't that."

"Was it my breath?" he asked, now in a state of full-on desperation. If it wasn't that, if it wasn't his manners or hygiene, then it would have to be his devastatingly handsome face, and if she found fault in that, he just couldn't bear it –

"It was your hair, R - Colonel Mustang," she said hurriedly, stumbling over his title once again. "It's very greasy. I'm sorry." She hung up.

Roy gently placed his phone on its cradle and stared at it, dumbstruck.

"My hair is not greasy!" he shouted, several minutes after the fact. "It is properly moisturized and beautiful!"

The phone said nothing. Roy was almost disappointed. "I just use L'Oreal," he continued, voice cracking, "BECAUSE I'M WORTH IT!"

Dammit, this was depressing. Had he been born a hundred years later, he would have whined about this on his LiveJournal. As it was, he considered angsting to his diary. It was a nice diary, leather-bound and with one of those cute heart-shaped locks that had a matching stylish key.

He needed someone to talk to. Still scowling, he punched in First Lieutenant Hawkeye's number and waited for her to pick up.

After a series of agonizing rings, she answered. "First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye speaking."

"…do you always state your rank when you answer a call?"

Glares could not yet be transmitted through the phone, but Roy swore she managed to achieve it somehow. "I would assume that any call made at three in the morning would be an emergency. What is your…emergency, Colonel?"

"Master Sergeant Lydia thinks that my hair is greasy."

A click, and she was gone. This rejection, so soon after the last one, was a stinging blow, and his Confidenceometer dropped several more notches. He called her back immediately.

"What is it now, Colonel?"

"I bet you would have felt stupid if it wasn't me."

"What is it, Colonel?" This time it was not a glare so much as a closed fist, the image branded onto his eyelids as clearly as if it were centimeters from his face instead of miles away across a sprawling city. Simply amazing, how did she do that?

"…Is my hair greasy?" he asked tentatively. "Please don't hang up again, I need to know."

"Will you let me sleep if I tell you, sir?"

Sleep? Sleep was for the weak. "Yes, of course," he said instead, because his initial response was not likely to garner sympathy.

"Yes." She said bluntly, and his heart dropped to his tailor-made shoes. They were suede. "Your current conditioner is not right for your hair type. I would recommend switching brands."

"But…L'Oreal..."

"There is more to life than L'Oreal, sir."

"I know, but is there more to hair conditioners?" Roy did not admit that he didn't know of any others. Hawkeye picked up on it anyway.

"Yes. There's Herbal Essences, and Suave, and Dove, and many others. I myself use Pantene, which could be a good match for you."

"…can I have some of yours?"

"No."

He winced.

She clarified: "It's expensive, and the type that I buy is for blonde hair."

"Ah. I don't want that. Do they have a conditioner specifically for black hair?"

"I would imagine you wouldn't, sir. And yes, they used to, but the product was discontinued."

Roy didn't ask how she knew this much about hair products. That was Hawkeye for you, always full of surprises. And she had to keep her hair looking fabulous somehow.

Roy had depended on L'Oreal, but L'Oreal had lied to him. Roy would never forgive…it. It. Them. Whatever.

"So…what do you recommend?"

"For your own safety, I would recommend letting me sleep, sir." Again with the closed fist, and this time it was closed around the handle of something long and pointy that Roy did not know the name of and most likely did not want to know the name of.

"Duly noted, Lieutenant. Sleep well."

"Sleep well, Colonel." He nearly set down the phone, but then she added quickly before hanging up, "You should try talking to Edward. With hair like his, he would be the best to consult."

Roy set the phone down, once again dumbstruck. Talk to Fullmetal? About personal hygiene? One may as well discuss with a warthog the best methods of concealing offensive bodily odors. But, on some level, he had to admit that she was right: Fullmetal's hair was, indeed, fabulous. Just like hers. Maybe he also used Pantene?

At any rate, he would not talk to Fullmetal directly about this. The little brat would never let him live it down, if he knew. There had to be a better way of discovering the secret he was so surely hiding.

In his mind, a devious plan began to devise, all by itself. Yes, he would find Fullmetal's magical conditioner and steal it for himself, all without the boy ever knowing! It was entirely possible and entirely not nonsensical, and not at all the ass-o-clock-in-the-morning haze talking!

Roy fell asleep on the paperwork he had spent the day working hard to avoid. He woke up with ink stains on his face. His Confidenceometer not allowing him to check the mirror out of misguided self-preservation, he never noticed. No one bothered to tell him.

END PART ONE